Underwater at Taputeranga Marine Reserve
Image: Helen Kettles | DOC


DOC is responsible for New Zealand's marine reserves and marine protected and threatened species.

Marine protected areas are an important tool in ensuring that our marine biodiversity is maintained in a healthy state.

Our marine protected areas are special places offering spectacular opportunities to see marine life, thriving and abundant in their natural environment. Activities such as sailing, kayaking, snorkelling and diving are just some of the ways you can explore what is above and below the surface.

There are three levels of marine protection: Type 1 Marine Protected Areas (marine reserves), Type 2 Marine Protected Areas and Other marine protection tools. See more information on these levels below. 

Protected marine species include all marine mammals and reptiles; sea birds (except black-backed gulls); seven species of fish; all black corals, gorgonian corals, stony corals and hydrocorals. These species face a range of threats such as climate change, sedimentation, disease, pollution and bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries. 

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